Grand Duke of Luxembourg

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Grand Duke of Luxembourg
Armoiries Luxembourg Bourbon avec ornements.svg
Henri of Luxembourg (2009).jpg
Style His Royal Highness
Heir apparent Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg
First monarch William I of the Netherlands (1815) (personal union began)
Adolphe, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, (after 1890)
Formation March 15, 1815
Residence Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg
Website (french only)
The Grand Ducal Standard is the official flag of the Sovereign.

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg is the monarchial head of state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since 15 March 1815, when it was elevated from a duchy, and was in personal union with the Netherlands until 1890. Since 1815, there have been nine monarchs of Luxembourg, including the incumbent, Henri. Luxembourg is the world's only sovereign extant Grand Duchy, a status to which Luxembourg was promoted in 1815 upon its unification with the Netherlands under the House of Orange-Nassau.

Constitutional role

The Constitution of Luxembourg defines the grand duke's position:

After a constitutional change (to article 34) in December 2008 resulting from Henri's refusal to sign a law legalizing euthanasia, laws now take effect without the grand duke's assent.[2] As a result, the grand duke no longer has any formal role in the legislative process, but his task to promulgate the law as chief executive remains.


Succession to the throne was governed by Salic law, as dictated by the Nassau Family Pact, first adopted on 30 June 1783.[1] The right to reign over Luxembourg was until June 2011 passed by agnatic-cognatic primogeniture within the House of Nassau, as stipulated under the 1815 Final Act of the Congress of Vienna and as confirmed by the 1867 Treaty of London.[1] The Nassau Family Pact itself can be amended by the usual legislative process, having been so on 10 July 1907 to exclude the Count of Merenberg branch of the House, which was descended from a morganatic marriage.[3]

An heir apparent may be granted the style 'Hereditary Grand Duke'. The current heir apparent is Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume. In June 2011, agnatic primogeniture was dropped in favor of absolute primogeniture, allowing any legitimate female descendants within the House of Nassau to be included in the line of succession.[4]

Full titles

The current grand duke, Henri, bears the full style: By the Grace of God, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Count of Sayn, Königstein, Katzenelnbogen and Diez, Burgrave of Hammerstein, Lord of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein. It should, however, be noted that many of the titles are held without regard to the strict rules of Salic inheritance.

List of grand dukes

House of Orange-Nassau

Image Name Date of birth Date of death Reign Relationship with predecessor
William I of the Netherlands.jpg
Guillaume I
Willem Frederik
(Prince William VI of Orange)
24 August 1772 12 December 1843 15 March 1815

7 October 1840
Francis' third cousin
Anne's direct descendant
Guillaume II
Willem Frederik George Lodewijk
6 December 1792 17 March 1849 7 October 1840

17 March 1849
his son
Willem III (1817-90), koning der Nederlanden, Nicolaas Pieneman, 1856 - Rijksmuseum.jpg
Guillaume III
Willem Alexander Paul Frederik Lodewijk
17 February 1817 23 November 1890 17 March 1849

23 November 1890
his son

House of Nassau-Weilburg

Under the 1783 Nassau Family Pact, those territories of the Nassau family in the Holy Roman Empire at the time of the Pact (Luxembourg and Nassau) were bound by semi-Salic law, which allowed inheritance by females or through the female line only upon extinction of male members of the dynasty. When William III died leaving only his daughter Wilhelmina as an heir, the crown of the Netherlands, not being bound by the family pact, passed to Wilhelmina. However, the crown of Luxembourg passed to a male of another branch of the House of Nassau: Adolphe, the dispossessed Duke of Nassau and head of the branch of Nassau-Weilburg.

In 1905, Grand Duke Adolphe's younger half-brother, Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau, died, having left a son Georg Nikolaus, Count von Merenberg who was, however, the product of a morganatic marriage, and therefore not legally a member of the House of Nassau. In 1907, Adolphe's only son, William IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, obtained passage of a law confirming the right of his eldest daughter, Marie-Adélaïde, to succeed to the throne in virtue of the absence of any remaining dynastic males of the House of Nassau, as originally stipulated in the Nassau Family Pact. She became the grand duchy's first reigning female monarch upon her father's death in 1912, and upon her own abdication in 1919, was succeeded by her younger sister Charlotte, who married Felix of Bourbon-Parma, a prince of the former Duchy of Parma. Charlotte's descendants have since reigned as the continued dynasty of Nassau, and also constitute a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon-Parma.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Succession right
23 November 1890 –
17 November 1905
24 July 1817
Wiesbaden (Prussia)
(1) Grand Duchess Elizabeth
31 January 1844
[1 child (stillborn)]
(2) Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie
23 April 1851
[5 children]
17 November 1905
Nephew of
William III
Guillaume IV
17 November 1905 –
25 February 1912
Guillaume IV of Luxembourg.png
22 April 1852
Wiesbaden (Prussia)
Grand Duchess Marie Anne
[6 children]
25 February 1912
Son of
25 February 1912 –
14 January 1919
14 June 1894
24 January 1924
Lenggries (Germany)
Daughter of
William IV
14 January 1919 –
12 November 1964
Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.jpg
23 January 1896
Prince Felix
6 November 1919
[6 children]
9 July 1985
Daughter of
William IV /
Sister of
12 November 1964 –
7 October 2000
5 January 1921
Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte
9 April 1953
[5 children]
Living Son of
7 October 2000 –
Henri of Luxembourg (2009).jpg
16 April 1955
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
4 February/14 February 1981
[5 children]
Living Son of

Grand Ducal Consorts

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Constitution de Luxembourg" (PDF) (in français). Service central de législation. Retrieved 1 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Luxembourg strips monarch of legislative role". The Guardian. London. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. (French)/(German) "Mémorial A, 1907, No. 37" (PDF). Service central de législation. Retrieved 14 January 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "New Ducal succession rights for Grand Duchy". Luxemburger Wort. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • "Constitution de Luxembourg" (PDF) (in français). Service central de législation. Retrieved 14 January 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links